Freaky

There’s a scary gulf between 2017’s Happy Death Day and the sequel of Happy Death Day 2U – with the high concept of a slasher-fueled remake of Groundhog Day going from fun and innovative to plodding and self-aware. Now director Christopher Landon returns with Freaky as a horrific halfway point between his two earlier creations. This horror comedy was called Freaky Friday the 13th when filming in Atlanta last year. That’s a nod to two classic teen comedies as brutal serial killer Vince Vaughn swaps bodies with teen outcast Kathryn Newton before going on a killing spree for her high school’s homecoming. Vaughn does great work as a former petite teen in an oversized shape, but he seems stuck with a script that misses out on plenty of opportunities. Also, the homicidal rampage doesn’t even make sense for a crazed maniac. Freaky still offers the same good-hearted spirit of Happy Death Day, plus genuine suspense starting with an old-fashioned gory slaughter in the opening minutes. Too bad the scene dispatches another character who would’ve made for a fine (and less predictable) Freaky Final Girl. The homage can’t turn Freaky into a true movie for horror geeks, though. Those types should check out 2015’s The Final Girls for an idea of how touching Freaky could’ve been if our heroine had switched bodies with her clichéd alcoholic mother.

[R]